(In Negotiating Your Divorce Package)
There are several commonalities that people who successfully negotiate a marital settlement agreement, i.e., one that both spouses can live with, share with each other. Moreover, unsuccessful people also share similar attributes when considering who will be more likely to reach a settlement utilizing the various dispute resolution techniques.
In alternative dispute resolution processes, negotiation is the name of the game, and failure to understand and to accommodate differing styles of communication can often lead to failure to negotiate successfully. When trying to communicate, unsuccessful people accuse, blame, complain, and use “you” statements. They offer longwinded explanations. They withhold pertinent information. They seem to be unable to engage in necessary and difficult conversations. They badger and interrupt the other party or other participants in the negotiation. They fail to listen actively.
Such people also bring invisible shadow advisors (often called the “Greek Chorus”) into meetings (sort of) by referring to judgments or comparisons those “advisors” may have made.
In contrast, when communicating, successful people are able to identify others’ needs and wishes, and to empathize. They are able to trust the other party, even if they’re on different sides of an issue, or at least to trust the negotiation process. They are willing to be transparent. They express their own thoughts and feelings clearly and succinctly. They speak in normal tones throughout a meeting, while foregoing intimidation and ignoring the intimidation of others. They avoid interrupting other participants.
Unsuccessful people also perform differently from those who are successful, not unlike those who perform in theatre. Unsuccessful people lock into a position on any given issue or attach to one particular outcome. They fail to follow through on promises, perhaps even on temporary or partial agreements. They reschedule or arrive late or unprepared to meetings. They arrive under the influence, or actively abusing substances. They fail to take care of their health, both physically and mentally. Perhaps because of all of the above, they are unrealistic about settlement.
Successful people perform much differently and more effectively. They are willing to search for solutions that help both or all sides of an issue. They are able to confer with the other party or parties in the same room and to discuss matters with the other(s). They are receptive to suggestions and alternatives and are cooperative. They remain in a meeting regardless of what is said. They arrive prepared and on time. They appreciate realistic expectations for what will be accomplished. Such folks have managed expectations, either through their own work or through their work with others.
By understanding the common success indicators, you can improve your own opportunities for success.
If you need help negotiating through a time of change with your partner, with grace and with respect, we can help. To determine if our services might be right for you, visit us at Open Palm Law or email me at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com. We are here for you, and for your family, during the stress of whatever change your family is going through!
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About this week’s author, Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.